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Contraception in teenagers

Abstract

Among countries of the 'developed world', the teenage birth rate in the UK is second only to that in the USA. The UK rate is nearly five times that in the Netherlands, over three times that in France and over twice that in Germany.1 For example, in the UK in 1998, there were 30.8 births per 1,000 15-19 year-olds.1 There is no single explanation for the high rate.2 It is probably due to a complex interaction between factors such as inadequate sex education; poor communication within families and with sexual partners; poor access to, and mistrust of, health services by young people (including specific concerns about confidentiality); risk-taking behaviour; and erratic use of contraception. With this in mind, here we explore how healthcare professionals can best deliver advice and help on contraception and related sexual health issues to teenagers.

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